People often come up to me on the street and ask me, “Mr. EastTex, why do I need a website?”
My first response is typically, “Who the hell are you?!” But once they relate to me that they are a woeful small business owner with no online presence, or a very dated online presence that looks like it was designed by hyenas in MS Paint, I throw my head back with a laughter of relief that they are not a mugger or one of my many stalkers, and exclaim, “Oh, my friend!” slapping a hand down upon their shoulder. “Let’s take a ride!”
We don’t have a taxi service in this small town so what I and this stranger do is jump into the backseat of the nearest car at the nearest stop light. It’s hot here in Texas, you see, so many people drive with their windows down. Yes, we jump in through the windows. This, literally, happens to me at least three or four times per week.
“Don’t worry about us driver,” I say to the driver who is either screaming or dialing 911, “We are but two consenting adults discussing online visibility.” This calms the driver down.
“So, why DO I need a website?” the woeful business owner will say once he realizes he just might not actually be getting kidnapped.
And here’s where my expertise really shines. I straighten my back, clear my throat, tell the driver to turn down the radio and I say, “Because it’s 2018 for crying out loud! You need a website!”
“B-b-b-but I’m in the Yellow Pages!” the business owner will assert. “I have my business cards tacked up on the bulletin boards in every laundromat in the tri-state area!”
“Well, imagine this, my friend,” I say, leaning in close for dramatic effect. “What if you could have your business card tacked up in a laundromat the SIZE OF THE ENTIRE EARTH!”
Naturally, the thought of a laundromat of such a size dazes the business owner for a second. The mere thought of so many broken Ms. Pac-Man machines is enough to give most NASA engineers pause. But then…they get it. It clicks. “Well, then, anyone…anywhere could find out about my business!” Their minds have shifted into spin cycle. They reel with the possibilities!
Often times, however, they tell me that they already have a website. “I already have a website,” they tell me, “See, look.” Then they show me their website on their smartphone or laptop, or sometimes the driver’s laptop if the driver’s not looking.
“Yep,” I say, squinting at the neon colors and animated gifs. “That certainly is a website. I mean, technically speaking.”
“It was designed by my niece – an artist – when she was 15 and it utilizes a whopping ELEVEN different fonts! Sometimes in a single word!”
“How old is your niece…now?” I ask.
“She’s 37 and just as artistic as she ever was when she can get time away from her septic tank scraping job.”
I sigh, and reassure them that their niece is, indeed, quite talented but things have changed. These days people like just one or two fonts. And instead of eye-gouging colors and gradients that induce vertigo they want useful information. Gone are the days when you could impress people with stock photos that still have the watermark on them and hit counters that show just how much traffic your site is NOT getting. People want to visit a site that looks professional. You know, business-like.
Then they sigh and, hanging their heads, they say, “My niece will be very disappointed, but you’re right.”
So, then I build them a totally awesome website.
Three or four times a week this happens.
Totally irrelevant image via Unsplash.com